Lowry Air Force Base

Public notice

Lowry Air Force Base fourth five year review announcement August 2021
To be completed in December 2021.

Located approximately 6 miles southeast of downtown Denver.
  • Included approximately 1,866 acres located within the city limits of Denver and Aurora.
  • Flight operations ceased in 1966 and training mission was expanded.
  • Formally closed in 1994 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) of 1988 and the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990.
  • Now a mixed-use community, including residences, educational facilities, commercial development and recreational areas.

Important documents

Operable Unit 5 - sitewide ground water

Groundwater contaminants were initially released in the environment at numerous locations at Lowry Air Force Base. The primary origin of contaminant release was into the storm sewers from several on-base facilities including an auto hobby shop.
Other likely sources of contamination include:
  • Accidental spills or leaks of solvents around firing range facilities.
  • Disposal of solvents into septic systems at the firing range.
  • Accidental spills or leaks at the fuel storage area in the vicinity of Uinta Street.
  • Releases related to fire training activities.
  • Leakage from fuel tanks at the Yosemite Street Gate Site.​
  • Site Specific Standard:
  • ​International Risk Group (IRG) and its operating entity, Lowry Assumption, requested a no further action determination from the department for Operable Unit 5.
  • The department cannot provide an no further action determination because Lowry Assumption has not met the state groundwater standards at the site.
  • Lowry Assumption then petitioned the Water Quality Control Commission for site-specific standards.
  • The WQCC hearing took place on May 12, 2014. In place of the current TCE standard (5ug/L), LAC was given a site specific standard of 11ug/L on base and 12ug/L off base.

General environmental concerns

  • Fuels and solvents in groundwater and municipal solid waste at an on-site landfill.
  • The Air Force managed all cleanup activities until 2002.
  • In 2002, turned the cleanup over to the Lowry Redevelopment Authority and its contractor, Lowry Assumption LLC, through August 2022.
  • A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Consent Agreement was signed in 2002.
  • Additional cleanup efforts were privatized in 2005.
  • We meet regularly with the Air Force, Lowry Assumption LLC, EPA, the city and county of Denver and the city of Aurora to discuss ongoing environmental investigations and cleanup.
  • The Air Force will manage the environmental cleanup at the site starting in August 2022.

Landfill zone (Operable Unit 2) summary

  • Located in the south-central portion of the former base.
  • The Master Plan identified the area as golf/regional open space, which would be turned over to the city and county of Denver.
  • We approved construction of a low-permeability soil cap to keep precipitation from seeping into the landfill materials, and required a 30-year post-closure maintenance and monitoring period.
  • An environmental covenant was issued to restrict future activities on the property to protect the cap.
  • Soil cap construction was completed in 2005 and post-closure maintenance and monitoring began in 2006.
  • Post-closure maintenance and monitoring is reported on an annual basis.

Proposed changes to Landfill zone (Operable Unit 2)"Lowry Vista"

  • The city and county of Denver couldn’t accept responsibility for the contaminated property.
  • Ownership of the landfill property was transferred to IRG Redevelopment I, LLC in 2006.
  • IRG Redevelopment is proposing to change the land use to allow for mixed-use residential and commercial/retail called Lowry Vista.
  • Any redevelopment would require a significant change in the landfill cap with approval from the Air Force and us.
  • Approval of the actual development is the responsibility of the city and county of Denver.
  • IRG Redevelopment is developing preliminary plans for the site and working with the United States Air Force and us to ensure the site remains protective of human health and the environment. 

Records review